East Coast Chair and Barstool Blog

The Buzz on Cold Brew Coffee in Restaurants

Want to shake up your beverage offerings and appeal to customers in the warmer months? Cold brew coffee is a great way to do that!

You surely have seen the distinguishing characteristics of cold brew coffee on social media or at the coffee shop you frequent. The coffee has a unique appearance with its amalgamation of dark and light liquids suspended in a clear cup just before it’s stirred. It’s beautiful, it’s artistic, and it’s also heavily-caffeinated- a total winning combination in the Insta-driven world of coffee beverages.

So how can your restaurant capitalize on the cold brew craze? Let’s first talk about how cold brew rose to popularity and what it actually is.

Where did cold brew coffee come from?

Starbucks Cold Brew Bottle

Cold brew may seem it’s around every corner cafe at this point but its origin story dates back to 16th century China. Its latest surge in popularity has been largely tied to Starbucks adding a cold-brew option to select stores in 2015. Cold brew is also commonly found in transportable containers, right next to cash registers, to accommodate the busy customer that will never have to worry about their coffee going cold. This combination of being on a mass-retailer’s menu and the simpleness of grab and go containers make cold brew coffee a widespread, buzzing success for coffee fans.

How is cold brew coffee made?

Cold Brew Coffee with Cream

Cold brew coffee is like the younger, cooler (no pun intended) sister of iced coffee. It has a smoother taste, lower levels of acidity, and often more caffeine in it. But, the cold brew process is a longer one than that of iced, or even hot, coffee. To get the flavorful benefits of a good cold brew, you have to give it a little time…

Cold brew is made by steeping coarse ground coffee in room temperature water (not hot) for up to 24 hours. Afterwards, the grounds are filtered out, leaving a uniform consistency to the liquid. Rather than relying on heat, it’s the steeping time that brings out the “coffee’s oils, sugars, and caffeine”.

There are a lot of cold brew recipes out there that use plastic bags and other non-food-safe options that are more DIY than your health inspector will probably prefer. For a restaurant, bakery, or coffee shop, you’ll definitely want to opt for a stainless steel system to keep things as sanitary as possible. Depending on the gallon capacity you’re interested in, standard cold brew systems can run anywhere from $200 to $700.

How you can try it in your restaurant:

Cold Brew Coffee in a Glass

As great as cold brew is, we don’t recommend throwing your hot coffee pot out on the curb. There is definitely an audience for both of these preparation methods. You don’t want to completely isolate someone’s coffee preference, but it’s great to give them options, you may have more coffee fans than you think.

Cold brew coffee makes the most sense in restaurants that serve breakfast or lunch fare over dinner-only eateries. Due to its higher than normal caffeine content, diners probably won’t be turning to this beverage as their post-dinner café unless they’re planning an all-nighter.

As we mentioned above, making cold brew is a lengthy process so unless you’re steeping grounds the whole time your doors are open, you may run out until your next batch is ready to go. If you plan on trying this trend, you’ll have to figure out how much you’ll need based on the day and its popularity, like any other food item. And if you find that your customers are really loving the buzz of cold brew, consider installing a cold brew tap system that can keep larger batches ready to go and very accessible for your staff!

Are you ready to give cold brew a chance in your restaurant? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook what you think of this buzz!

5 Furniture Hacks That Will Help Your Restaurant Run More Smoothly

Furniture is essential to any restaurant, but did you know you could actually use it to your advantage? The right furniture can help keep your restaurant operations running fluidly.

Customers are expecting quicker service than ever and restaurants are on the clock to deliver. Time is of the essence and speed is the pièces de résistance to make it happen. If your restaurant doesn’t have the capital to jump to the artificial intelligence of Jetson-like robots….that’s super normal.

Poor time management can snap a business model in half but by choosing the correct restaurant furnishings, you can help your staff run as efficiently as possible. We’ve narrowed down five furniture hacks that will keep your operation effective for your employees and bottom line profitable!

This furniture will streamline your hostesses and waitstaff processes, cut down cleaning times without skimping, and use your square footage effectively.  

Add a POS Station

Hostess Station in Urban Distressed Wood

Eliminate employees not being able to find pens, crayons, napkins, and even wait-time buzzers by having it all in one space: a point of sale station! Having a designated space for these things to reside can help cut out frantic scrambling for these easy to misplace items.

Even better, you can customize your POS station to fit your restaurant’s processes. Need somewhere to put rolled silverware so it’s at the ready? Opt for some wider shelves that can fit baskets the silverware can be tucked away in. Do you need to have the space to stack trays and menu? Try cabinet doors that shut and can hide away stored items.

By organizing these items, at an arm’s length away, your hostesses and wait staff can be ready for whatever the dinner rush throws at them.

Use Crumb Strips in Your Booth Section

Booths with a Crumb Strip

Vinyl color, height, and single vs. double are just a few of the factors that run through restaurant owners heads’ when they purchase commercial booths. But one important factor that is definitely not at the top of their list to consider when buying a booth is having a crumb strip.

A crumb strip in your booths will make your wait staff and bussers’ cleaning routine so much easier. This narrow strip of space between the back and seat cushions of the booth let them really get in there with a rag and, much like its name, get the crumbs out! Not only does the crumb strip make it simpler to get in between the table and booth vinyl, it can also increase the likelihood it won’t be left by your staff because it was too hard to reach. Which isn’t good for anyone… who wants to seat on a crumby booth?

Lower Wait Times with Indoor/Outdoor Furniture Seating

Distressed Viktor Chairs in Kelly Red

Sometimes it feels like the dinner crowd just won’t stop pouring in! As a restaurant owner, this is a great problem to have but it does present an issue for space. If the weather is nice, you’ll want to maximize your patio space. But that could mean prepping furniture you haven’t use in awhile, shaking off the cobwebs, and hoping the dead leaves from last fall have evaporated off your patio.

Why not invest in versatile seating that can pull double duty in both seating charts? These pieces of furniture are typically metal that are specially finished for indoor or outdoor use. Having this kind of seating on hand can be helpful to keep wait times lower, as well as increasing the amount of customers your staff can serve. Lower wait times, happier customers, bigger tips, just from having seating that can go anywhere!

Clean Up Your Outdoor Space in a Snap

Whether you’re just breaking out your restaurant’s patio furniture or you’re putting it away for the end of the season, cleaning it up is a great way to protect your investment and adding to your curb appeal. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could pressure-wash the outdoor space AND your furniture at the same time?

Cue poly lumber furniture!

This eco-friendly substance is a great alternative to wood with its non-porous makeup, which means it won’t retain moisture! Your staff can wipe down (or pressure-wash) poly lumber furniture without worrying about mildew, fungi, or any other growing mold. Poly lumber has many benefits for outdoor use, making it a simple solution for hard-to-take-of furniture.

Accommodate Guests (and Your Staff)

Communal Table in a Restaurant

Larger parties can be a struggle for your restaurant to accommodate, especially if your go-to defense is pushing together smaller table tops. It can be a pain for your wait staff to be constantly constructing and deconstructing the same space over and over, depending on who walks through the door.

By having a communal table or two that you can seat large parties, you can avoid losing your small tables by having to push them together. This way your staff can keep a balance between the larger parties and smaller tables, preventing them from becoming too overwhelmed.

We’re not saying you need to stand there with a stopwatch and record your employees’ every move, but it’s important to consider the success rate of how your staff’s current performance and what you should do to help. Even when your staff is on their game and working their hardest, there may be some areas that you can help make them more efficient in their jobs, just by changing your furniture.

Top Mistakes Restaurant Owners Make in Their First Year and How to Avoid Them

Restaurant Communal Table with Dinner

We’ve all heard that terrifying statistic — 90% of new restaurants fail within the first year. Fortunately for both owners and people who like to go out to eat, this “fact” is completely untrue. According to research by Dr. H.G. Parsa of Ohio State University, first-year restaurant failure rates are closer to a much less shocking 26%. (The 90% myth, by the way, is so prevalent that it was even cited in an American Express commercial in the early 2000s. AmEx was never able to substantiate their claim.)

Still, that means that one out of four new restaurants isn’t going to survive to its first anniversary. Sometimes, these closures are beyond the owners’ control. An economic downturn, staffing issues, infrastructure problems, or new government policies can all lead to failures, despite the best efforts of management.

But there are certain mistakes that restaurant owners often make when they first get started that can be major factors in the success or failure of their restaurants. Here are some common mistakes that restaurant owners make in their first year of business, and how you can avoid them.

Mistake #1 — Not appreciating the necessary time commitment

The restaurant industry is hard, both physically and mentally. It requires long hours, intense attention to detail, and a mastery of a whole slew of different disciplines from managing people to sales forecasting to marketing to cooking to sanitation…

And because money is always tight in the restaurant business, all of this has to be organized and executed by an incredibly small management team. The result is long hours away from home, family, and hobbies. In Dr. Parsa’s study, he notes that most failed restaurateurs cited family sacrifice as at least part of the reason that their restaurants shuttered.

Owning a restaurant will always be hard work. But one step you can take to try to balance your work with your home life is to delegate and outsource where you can.

The key to delegating effectively:

  • Communicate exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Provide a clear vision of success.

For example, maybe you decide to hand off social media management to a staff member or freelancer. Make sure that person knows how many posts you want per week and the type of content you like on your feed. Food photos? Videos of guests having a good time? Bartenders making drinks? Behind-the-scenes footage of the kitchen? Promotions for upcoming events? Clear content guidelines will help to automate the process and prevent frustration down the line.

Then, give the delegate a metric that is easy to track. Maybe you want to grow your social media following by 10% per month, or maybe you want a certain number of people to engage with your posts on a weekly basis. Aim for straightforward, concrete goals so the whole team will know exactly what success looks like.

Mistake #2 — Not compensating for inexperience

Opening a restaurant sounds like fun. And it can be! But there’s a reason why industry greats like Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay worked in restaurants for nearly 15 years before opening their own. There is a ton to learn before you’re ready to be the boss.

Training and managing a small army of prep cooks, chefs, servers, bartenders, and hosts is difficult enough. Add in marketing, controlling food and labor costs, licensing and permitting, facilities management, special events, and more, and it’s enough to make your head spin if you haven’t risen through the restaurant ranks.

That doesn’t mean that every restaurant with an inexperienced owner is doomed to fail. But you’ll need to hire the best general manager or director of operations that you can afford. Ten or twenty years of restaurant management experience will come at a cost, but it will be worth to have a pro on your team.

Mistake #3 — Lack of clear concept

Your concept is not just your cuisine. Your concept is what makes you unique. Why should people go to your pizza joint, instead of the pizza joint down the street? What special purpose does your restaurant serve?

Maybe you are an upscale date spot located in a renovated 1960s gas station serving ultra-thin-crust Neapolitan pizzas with high-end toppings like foie gras and shaved white truffle.

Now compare that to Chuck E. Cheese — a family-friendly pizza place with lots of games and entertainment for kids. Both serve the same basic cuisine, but their concepts are radically different.

So what is it, beyond just your type of food, that makes you special? You’ll never be all things to all people, so dig in and focus on who you’re trying to attract, and for what occasions. You want to position your restaurant as the “go-to” place for something specific — an occasion, an atmosphere, a certain theme. What do you do better than anyone else?

A clear concept will serve as a guide as you navigate choices down the line. Menu changes, community events, and promotions will all be easier to approve or deny when you have a clearly defined concept.

Mistake #4 — Allowing subpar food to persist

Your menu was carefully curated, each recipe lovingly tested and presented by your executive chef. You tried each dish, gave it your seal of approval, and are now confident in the knowledge that you can be proud of your food.

But over time, corners get cut. Maybe the line cooks are sandbagging steaks to get through the rush more easily, resulting in dried-out sirloins. Maybe the prep cooks are only letting the soup simmer for 15 minutes instead of the required 45 minutes, so the flavor isn’t as rich.

These time-saving tweaks aren’t malicious on the part of your staff, but they can drastically reduce the quality of the food. And customers will notice.

Make it a habit to eat in your restaurant regularly — but discreetly. Ask a manager to ring in food for you, but make sure they don’t tell the kitchen staff that it’s for the boss. That way, you’ll get an accurate taste of what your restaurant is serving to your guests, and you’ll be able to address any deviations from the original dish.

Mistake #5 — Not keeping track of permits

When you were first opening your restaurant, you had to get a variety of permits and licenses from all sorts of local and county departments like the health, fire, and building departments, state liquor authority, comptroller, and more.

Right around your 1-year mark, many of those permits will need to be renewed. And they’ll probably have to be renewed annually for as long as your restaurant is operating. Failure to stay on top of this tedious (but vital) administrative work can result in fines or could even get you shut down.

Make absolutely sure that you are tracking all permit and license expiration dates!

One free method is to create a special Google or Outlook calendar just for permits, and schedule all expiration dates with reminders 60 and 30 days out. When you get your 60-day reminder, you can file the proper paperwork and schedule any necessary inspections to keep your restaurant in compliance. At the 30-day mark, double check that everything has been received by the corresponding city or county department.

Another option is to use software like Renewal Tracker to manage renewal dates, reminders, costs, and supporting documentation all in one place.

And make sure all managers know where the permits are posted in the restaurant so they’re easy to find if you’re not around.

Mistake #6 — Not planning for the worst

When you created your business plan, you made assumptions (aka guesses) about expected sales and revenue. You did your research and tried to be pragmatic, but you still had no real way of knowing what those numbers would be.


Once you open your doors, you’ll find out how accurate your guesses were. It may take time — months, or even years — for your restaurant to perform the way that you hoped.

Don’t forget that you have to cover food, labor, rent, utilities, taxes, and loan payments, no matter how much money you’re bringing in. It some time to build a devoted customer base, so make sure to reserve some of your startup capital. It’s vital to have some cash on hand if things get off to a slow start.

Keep an eye on your cash reserves, and always try to keep in mind how many months you could continue to operate if you don’t see an improvement in sales. This will help you to know when you need to start looking for outside capital. Make sure you come up with a strategy well in advance of having to choose between making payroll and paying the electric bill. Remember, the best time to look for cash is when you don’t need it.

The restaurant business can be fun and rewarding, but it’s still a business. Hiring a great team, creating the best possible product, and keeping a cautious eye on your income and expenses can all help to ensure that your first year isn’t also your last.

How to Handle Difficult Restaurant Employees

How to Handle Difficult Restaurant Employees - Waiter in a Restaurant

We all have to deal with difficult employees in the restaurant industry. Let’s take a look at how we can manage negative behavior and create a positive work environment for everyone.

Look, the restaurant business is often challenging and the pressure to perform can go from zero to sixty in 4.6 seconds. We count on our staff to perform and improvise solutions at the drop of a hat. The importance of being on time, showing up with a winning attitude, and being able focus on tasks is a huge factor in determining the success of a shift. Yet — some people can’t seem to get it together. Always late; creates negative energy; section falling apart. Often times that’s only the tip of the iceberg. When tempers flare, frustrations mount and check/tip averages drop — the warm fuzzy feeling at staff meal have all but disappeared.

So, how do we deal with a problem employee? Is it possible to create a workplace that is positive, productive, and fun? Here are some tips and strategies for handling employees that perform poorly:

Use positive language You learn a lot about a person by observing their body language. Do they seem frustrated? Indifferent? Hostile? Many times we can gauge a person’s mood by watching how they enter the door and begin their shift. Take a moment to say hi. Ask about their day or weekend. You’d be surprised how this ‘small’ gesture can have a calming effect if they seem stressed or frazzled. You start off on a good note and help set the tone for the shift. On the flip side, it can cheer someone up if they seem depressed, fatigued, or low on energy. Restaurants are often tight-knit families. Take a minute or two out of your busy day to pass on a kind word. Show a genuine interest in their world outside of work. Sometimes the negative behavior displayed at work is carried over from the world outside those walls. The same approach can work when they are in the weeds and got triple sat on a busy Friday night. Keep a calm, friendly tone. Keep it light. Choose your words with care and make them count. You will be surprised at the amount of confidence you can build in your server/busser/bartender with a simple, “you got this but I’m here to jump in if you need anything.”

Fair, firm, and understanding Many people have poor time management skills. They make every attempt to show up on time, but — stuff happens. Traffic really does suck. The babysitter really is late… all the time. A raccoon really did eat their radiator belt (one allowance only for this excuse). It’s a hectic world. Be compassionate. But also let them know that being on time or keeping a neat station is important. Help them to understand: this is a team effort and an orchestrated dance. You will be surprised to find out how many people simply don’t understand the relevance of being prompt and punctual. Break it down for them in simple, easy terms. When you let an employee or coworker know that a certain action is valuable to the entire effort, they feel important. Everyone likes to feel important.

Be proactive Does your employee lack motivation? Find out what sparks their interest. Is it music? Fashion? Movies? When you establish a connection with hard to handle employees you build trust. We all understand the importance of trust and how it can lead to an overall improvement in attitude, performance, and workplace cohesiveness. Observe the behavior or habits that need to be corrected and address them early on — before they become a larger problem. Help them to discover better alternatives by walking through ‘mock scenarios’ during pre-shift. It’s possible that their section is always a disaster because no one has ever taught them how to work smarter by consolidating steps. Perhaps previous jobs did not emphasize orderliness and cleanliness. We can’t assume that previous employers have given everyone on your team the small nuggets of wisdom that make tasks easier and build reliable skill sets. You have to be that person. This is what distinguishes a leader from a manager.

Lead by example Let your team see that you care: you will never ask them to perform a task that you wouldn’t do yourself. When they see that you care deeply about the success of the business — they will adopt your habits. Difficult team members notice when you hop behind the bar, run orders, bus and reset tables when the team is in the weeds. And they will reciprocate. A team that feels you are involved with them throughout the shift will be more likely to step up their game. They become empowered and make fewer mistakes . When morale is high, your team members will go the extra mile to meet your vision. Teams that works together and observe strong leadership traits will be able to hold it together during the rough patches — the real nitty-gritty. They understand your expectations and adopt them as their own. They encourage coworkers that are not performing to do better.

The compliment sandwich We all know how delicious this sandwich can be if it’s served at the right temperature. Served cold — not so tasty. Throwing a couple of half-assed compliments on a plate and pouring some criticism gravy over the entire dish is not an effective management technique. It leaves a struggling employee confused and less receptive to feedback. The goal is to take negative behavior/habits and turn them into positive ones. Be sincere and genuine in your compliments — restaurant workers can spot b.s. a mile away. Suggest ways to fix the problem; ask for suggestions; listen to feedback and absorb their responses. As a manager and leader your tone should say, “I will try my hardest to help you.” Criticism is easy to dish out. Often vague, harsh and counterproductive — the result is rarely pleasant or informative. An effective leader will seek a favorable outcome and help to carry out effective solutions. Identify the specific actions you would like to change and give a clear and insightful path to meet those goals.

Employees are your best resource Your strongest assets are waiting to be cultivated. A healthy and positive work environment creates a sense of purpose and translates to an increase in sales, productivity, and happiness.

How to Handle Difficult Restaurant Employees - Pinterest Graphic

Engaging “Generation Y” to Grow Your Restaurant

Generation Y (aka millennials) are expected to outnumber baby boomers sometime this year making them the largest generation in the country. At 73 million strong, it’s vital to know how to reach these 22- to 37-year-olds.

Marketing to millennials should look more like engaging with your friends than traditional advertising. They want entertaining content, fun experiences, and authentic interactions with real people. They’re suspicious of marketing, and if it feels too much like a sales pitch, they won’t respond to it. But there are still ways to reach them! Read on for some helpful tips.

Get Social

You know that “kids these days” are always on their smartphones. But did you know that 95% of Generation Y follows at least one brand on social media? Every additional follower on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter is one more person that you can market to directly — without spending a dime.

Luckily for the restaurant industry, food-related content is incredibly popular across social media. High-quality photo and video content are what the people want! So don’t let them down. A DSLR camera is a great tool, but a newer smartphone camera can still do the trick. It never hurts to have some photo editing skills as well to make the colors really pop.

While food content is a great start, also think beyond the plate. Go behind-the-scenes and introduce your followers to the people behind the product. Take a short video of the chef talking about some of his favorite ingredients, or making one of his signature dishes. Introduce your fans to one of your bartenders. Post a photo from your last staff party. Remember, you’re treating your followers like friends. They need to know who you are if they’re going to feel personally connected to your brand.

Engage!

Keep in mind that social media is a platform for two-way communication. It’s not enough to just post a killer video and trust that the rest will happen on its own. Make sure to engage with the people who are reacting to your content. Respond to comments, thank new followers, and follow them back. And when they post their own photos from their time at your establishment, make sure to like and comment.

And don’t forget to check out the analytics! All social media platforms have reports that business pages can access. You’ll be able to learn about activity on your feed, how each post is performing, and gain insight into your audience — who they are, and when they are active on social media. This information will help you determine what content is getting results so you can tailor your posts accordingly.

If this all sounds like a lot of work — it can be. But there are ways to make it easier. Apps like Buffer and Hootsuite let you schedule all of your social media content — pictures, copy, and hashtags — in advance. Then, the software will post to your social accounts for you based on the schedule you set.

You can plan out the whole week’s worth of content at once. Using scheduling software will ensure that social media isn’t forgotten in the hustle and bustle of running your restaurant. Just make sure that you’re checking in and interacting with your followers daily.

Remember — consistency is key. It takes time to build an online community, but with perseverance, you’ll see those follow numbers start to increase.

#experiences

More good news for the restaurant industry — millennials prefer experiences to goods. In fact, all generations are shifting away from buying “stuff” and towards participation in events.

Restaurants already have a leg up, since dining out is an easily accessible experience for many. But let’s go beyond anniversary dinners and birthday parties, shall we? How can you bring the capital e “Experience” to your restaurant and customers?

Bring in a guest chef for a special tasting. Host a beer dinner with a local brewery. Teach a cooking class, culminating in a tasty meal and a glass of wine. Have a seasonal farm-to-table dinner. The key is for it to be unique and one-time-only. You want to throw an event that will create valuable memories — and great pictures for the participants’ social media feeds.

When the time comes to get the word out about your event, your social channels will be invaluable. Make sure to do regular posts leading up to the big day.

But millennials love recommendations from people they trust. So try going a step further by enlisting the help of local micro-influencers — bloggers and social media personalities with follows from 10,000 up to 100,000 people. Find out who your local food bloggers and event curators are, and see if they’d be willing to do a post about your event.

There may be a cost associated with their post, or you may be able to exchange the post for free tickets to the event. But since these influencers have devoted fans who want to know what’s going on around town, it may be worth the cost to get their shout out.

Finally, try to get outside the four walls of your restaurant. Food festivals are an incredibly popular experience with Generation Y. They attract a huge amount of social media engagement, and they get your name and your food in front of people who may be outside your normal demographic. They can be challenging logistically, but the payoff for a successful festival can be well worth it.

Miserly Millennials

Many millennials graduated from college just as the economy was taking a huge downturn. Their careers were stalled right out of the gate, and they’re still feeling the effects over 10 years later. Add student loan debt to the tune of $1.3 trillion, and it’s no wonder Gen Y is incredibly cost-conscious.

This doesn’t mean that you have to destroy your cost of goods in order to keep prices low enough to attract these penny pinchers. But consider offerings that could attract a group that may normally not be able to afford your restaurant.

For example, a very high-end sushi restaurant offers happy hour from 5:00 to 6:30 pm on weekdays. They provide smaller portions of select menu items at reduced prices; $18 appetizers are served as small plates on the happy hour menu for only $9. This deal is routinely included in lists of the best happy hours in town.

These reduced prices give the less affluent an opportunity to try high-end food at a price they can afford while keeping the restaurant’s cost of goods under control. And remember, today’s entry-level marketing assistant is tomorrow’s VP of Marketing — with a lot more disposable income.

Cooking for a Cause

Many millennials participate in causes and social activism regularly. They sign petitions, make donations, and vote with their dollars by boycotting brands that they feel have transgressed. They want to do good.

Give them the opportunity to give back while having fun. Charity events build brand goodwill while also supporting a cause.

Get customers involved by:

  • Hosting a toy or food drive. Offer a small discount off their meal as thanks for their donation.
  • Donating a percentage of sales to a cause that’s important to you.
  • Raffling off a gift basket, prize, or a dinner for two to your restaurant. Sell tickets to customers, and donate the proceeds to a charity.

Local charities are a good choice, as they may be more transparent than huge national organizations. Plus, many people like the idea of keeping their donations in their own communities. Before selecting a charity, do some research on CharityWatch.org to verify their credentials. You can also see how much of their money goes to aid vs. administration.

Let Them Participate

Millennials like to be active participants with the brands they support. They expect companies to engage with them, ask their opinions, and respond to their feedback. So actively encourage that interaction, and watch engagement increase.

Debating between two new menu items? Let your customers vote on it. Adding a cocktail to the menu? Host a naming contest on social media, and give a prize to the winner. Ask people to share the photos they’ve taken at your restaurant, and send a gift card to whoever took your favorite.

Encouraging your followers to get involved will show that you value your customer’s input and build a deeper connection between them and your brand.

They’re Not Getting Any Younger…

With the oldest millennials approaching their late-30s, many of them are now parents. In fact, 40% of millennials have kids. So being kid-friendly can be an important selling point when they’re considering where to go out to eat. Clean high chairs, plastic cups with straws, and a kids menu will all help parents feel comfortable bringing the kiddos.

Include pictures of families and kids on your social media (with the parent’s permission, of course!) to show your followers that their little ones are not only allowed but welcome.

And with both parents sharing childcare duties more evenly than ever before, make sure there is a changing station in every restroom!
At the end of the day, marketing to Generation Y is really about building relationships. Share what excites you, ask them what they think, and give a little back. If you treat your Generation Y customers as pals instead of prospects, you’ll be well on your way to securing a group of loyal and profitable patrons.

Engaging Gen Y

Spring Into a New Season with New Furniture

The spring season means new life, new weather, and even new savings!

We’re making room in our warehouse before our busy season, which means you have a plethora of great deals for furnishing your indoor dining area and your outdoor patio. From vintage-looking bucket bar stools to tough steel frames, our sale section can help you get a great start on your restaurant’s new design or upgrade.

But you’re going to want to hop to it! The spring sale is ending Tuesday April 30th and each item is only available in limited quantities, so if we sell out of a style, we may not be getting it back in stock. Let’s look at what deals you’ll find on the sale page…

Indoor Commercial Furniture:

Add industrial style to your restaurant with the Simon Collection! The Simon’s steel frame comes in a variety of seating styles and metal finishes to accomplish the manufacturing look.

  • Simon Bar Stool in Rust

If you’re looking for something a bit more colorful, try the Distressed Simon Collection. The Distressed Simon’s have the same frame as the regular Simon Collection, but have unique distressed markings that make each chair or bar stool a little different.

A consistently popular silhouette, Viktor and Distressed Viktor chairs and bar stools are perfect for any tap house, eatery, or café. The Viktor Collection features an oversized seat and is available in more neutral finishes to add a little metallic flair to any restaurant atmosphere.


  • Viktor Bar Stool in Rust

Looking for furniture on sale, versatile, and stylish? The Distressed Viktor Collection is the right choice for you! This style has the same silhouette as the traditional Viktor but comes in six distressed color finishes that brighten up any space. Distressed Viktor bar stools and chairs can be used inside your restaurant or out at your patio bar, it’s got you covered!

  • Distressed Viktor Bar Stool in Distressed Kelly Blue

Sit your guests in luxurious comfort (for less) with the 950 Bucket Bar Stool! This beautiful bucket style features tufted button detailing on the back and a comfortable waterfall seat design. It comes in three different vinyl colors and two base styles.

Outdoor Commercial Furniture:

Go for mid-century modern look on your patio with the steel elegance of the Luca Collection. With chairs, bar stool, and table top choices, the Luca Collection is black powder coated You’ll want to look at this new collection’s seating and table options; your patio and budget will thank you!

Like the look of the steel Luca frame? Spice it up with 20+ poly lumber colors to choose from! This bar stool and chairs are right on trend with their squared off back design and tapered legs. The poly slats add a whole lot of personality to the furniture with their bright, neutral, or deep colors. Customize your patio furniture and snag a sale? Sounds like a great deal!

Find exactly the furniture you need for your restaurant or bar’s outdoor space with the Caribbean Collection! This collection uses a durable and stylish combination of aluminum and poly lumber. And with the Caribbean bar stools, chairs, and table tops, you really get to customize your furniture. Choose from a black or silver powder coat on the frame AND choose what poly lumber you want to incorporate. Go with your logo’s colors or ones that match your patio, the choice is in your hands (and on sale)!

Helping customers furnish or upgrade their restaurants is always a great feeling, even more so when their getting an extra fantastic deal on their indoor chairs or outdoor table tops. If you have any questions on availability or selection, please call our customer care team at 800-986-5352.

East Coast Chair & Barstool Visits the Windy City

We are well into trade show season here at East Coast Chair & Barstool and we are excited to be heading to Chicago next! Trade shows allow us the opportunity to make connections with customers and feature some of our newest products. So, we are packing our bags and heading to McCormick Place once again.

In case you haven’t heard, the National Restaurant Association Show has reached their centennial year! This event is one of the biggest trade shows in the restaurant and hospitality industry. It is a great way to explore and learn everything that is happening in the industry. Discover innovations in equipment and supplies, to food technology, and even the latest furniture trends. In our experience, it is best to leave yourself at least two days to delve into all the exhibits.

This year the show will be featuring a panel discussion on the future of dining, moderated by Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Attendees can expect to come away with insight into trends and potential industry-altering changes. As a session with Allison Page, Chief Product Officer and Con-Founder of SevenRooms, and Christopher Thomas-Moore on Vice President of Global eCommerce & Digital Marketing for Domino’s Pizza on the everything from robotics and automation of technologies to ease operations in back-of-house.

We are excited to be exhibiting our brand new outdoor deep seating option, The Monaco Collection of outdoor deep seating, several new restaurant booth designs, and modern designed Emory Chair.
If you are around the Chicago area, make sure to come out May 18th-21st for the NRA show and stop by booth #6045. We’d love to meet you and discuss what we can do for your restaurant.

Introducing the Leesburg Booth

Creating the right atmosphere for your restaurant or bar is no easy task. From combining ingredients together to make fantastic meals to painting the walls in your brand’s color, you take pride in curating the elements your guests will experience as soon as they set foot into your restaurant. And your furniture should be no different!

Create an atmosphere that your customers will never forget by seating them in the handcrafted Leesburg booth.

No matter if you are furnishing a brewery, taproom, or rustic eatery, the Leesburg booth is constructed to invoke feelings of beauty and strength. This booth’s metal frame is made from clear coated steel that showcases welding marks. The frame fits itself nicely into the industrial trend with its “bare bones” aesthetic.

Playing from its rustic charm, the Leesburg booth’s metal frame is finished with your choice of distressed wood for the seat and back of the booth. Choose from reclaimed wood (salvaged barn wood available in Natural, Antique Black, or Whitewash finishes), urban distressed wood (new wood distressed to look old available in Provincial, Dark Walnut, and Ebony finishes), and rustic pine wood (available in Distressed Bourbon finish) options to complete the right booth for your restaurant.

Each type of wood is distressed to create texture and a uniqueness that can’t be replicated from booth to booth.

The Leesburg can be made as single and double booth layouts, which have customizable lengths, so you can outfit your restaurant’s needs accordingly. Regardless of what length you order, the Leesburg booth is 48” in height to accommodate traditional restaurant seating arrangements.

Find out more about the Leesburg booth on its single and double listings. You can also check out our other custom restaurant booths and find the right style for your business.

Give Your Restaurant Patio a Furniture Overhaul with the Luca and Lena Outdoor Collections

The Luca with Poly Collection in Lime Green on Patio with Table

Shake up your restaurant’s patio this year with our latest outdoor furniture lineup! Sticking to notable restaurant trends like mid-century modern shapes and the mixing of materials, these fresh new designs can upgrade your outdoor area and give it new life.

Whether you want to add a pop of color with the Luca with Poly Collection or stick to the classic dark silhouettes of the Luca or Lena Collection, East Coast Chair & Barstool has the right look for your patio.

The Luca Collection

Luca Collection

Straight lines and ladder back design give the Luca Collection bar stools and chairs their mid-century look. Don’t let these tapered legs fool you, the Luca Collection frames are made from e-coated steel and are fully welded, adding weight that’s great for patios subject to windy seasons. The frame has a black Sandtex finish that prevents rust and keeps this collection looking great for many patio seasons to come.

The Lena Collection

Lena Collection

Throw your patio design a curve ball with the Lena Collection bar stool and chair. This design features a twist on the traditional ladder back with a rounded top bracing and comfortable seat. Like the Luca Collection, the Lena’s e-coated steel frame with a black Sandtex finish presents a durable front against the weather.

The Luca with Poly Collection

Luca with Poly Collection

Combine the strength of a steel frame and poly lumber slats with the Luca with Poly Collection and add a little extra personality. This bar stool, chair, and side chair are e-coated to prevent rust and increase durability. To personalize this collection, choose from over 25 domestic poly lumber colors for the back and seat. Versatile with a splash of color, create your patio’s color scheme with the Luca with Poly Collection.

The Luca Collection Table Tops

Luca Collection Tables

Classic black never goes out of style, especially for your restaurant’s patio. The Luca Collection Table Tops have a durable e-coated steel frame that’s held together with stainless steel hardware. These table tops can blend right into your patio’s look and pair well with the Luca, Lena, and Luca with Poly furniture collections. They also feature slits that not only look great but make it easy for water to drain from the table top. Keep your customers cool by using the Luca Collection Tables’ umbrella hole and adding an umbrella.

Check out these brand-new collections on our website and in our catalog. If you have questions about the Luca or Lena Collections, please feel free to reach out to our customer care team by calling 800-986-5352.

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 7 Furniture Styles That Can Be Used Inside or Outside Your Restaurant

With patio season right around the corner, it’s handy to have furniture that can pull double duty when you need it to!

Busy night out in your outdoor bar area? Grab some seating from indoors! A larger party just came in to dine? No problem, grab a table and base and give them some more space. Furniture that can be properly used inside and out can be extremely helpful for restaurants that shift their layout to where guests prefer to dine.

Whether you prefer classic design or something a little more trendy, East Coast Chair & Barstool has the right furniture that works harder inside and outside your restaurant.

Distressed Viktor Collection

Distressed Orange, Distressed Sky Blue, Distressed Black, Distressed Kelly Red, Distressed White, and Distressed Kelly Blue Viktor Chairs

We’ve taken one of our most popular rustic industrial styles and added the right pop of color! With six different colors, you can keep your color theme neutral (Black, White), whimsical (Sky Blue, Orange), or bold (Kelly Red, Kelly Blue) with the Distressed Viktor Collection.

So what makes this collection different from our other Viktors, besides the fun colors?

These Distressed Viktor bar stools and chairs go through a 10-step finishing process, ending with a strong powder coat. Through this process, the 16-gauge steel frame becomes durable enough to use inside or outside your restaurant.

These bar stools and chairs have the option to add a vinyl or wood seat, but these seat options are only warrantied for indoor use. To be able to use these Viktors wherever you need in your restaurant, leave the seat metal.

The weathered style is a great addition to your dining room space or patio, and right on trend! 

Hendrix Chairs

Distressed Black, Distressed Gray, and Distressed White Hendrix Chairs

Add a mid-century modern feel to your café tables or outdoor patio with the Hendrix chairs. These chairs boast a fully welded steel frame that’s been e-coated to make them durable for any commercial environment. The Hendrix chair has an overall squared silhouette with a ladder-style back that feeds into its classic appeal.

Enjoy design that you won’t find anywhere else, with unique colors that will set your space apart. Playing on the rustic trend, Hendrix chairs are available in classic colors (Distressed White, Distressed Gray, Distressed Black) with distressed markings. And if you have a slower night where you don’t need the chairs on in your dining room or patio, Hendrix chairs are stackable for easy storage.

Carlisle Chairs

Distressed Gray, Distressed Black, and Distressed Oak Carlisle Chairs

The Carlisle chair has a distinctive cross back design with stylized frame that never goes out of style. These chairs are fantastic for coffee shops, bakeries, and cafés that need to accommodate curbside tables as well as extra seating inside.

Strong and durable, the Carlisle chair’s 16-gauge steel frame is e-coated in three different colors (Distressed Black, Distressed Gray, Distressed Oak). This e-coating is what makes the Carlisle tough enough for indoor and outdoor use. To complete the look, the chair has artistic distress marks to give them a weathered, industrial look.

An ash wood seat is available for the Carlisle chairs but is only warrantied for indoor use.

The design of the frame allows these chairs to stack, making it easy to have them on hand and ready when you need to make space for extra customers.

IsoTop Sliq Table Tops

Black Steel, Cement, Dark Mica, Gray Oak, and Metal Line IsoTop Sliq Table Tops

Beautiful and durable, IsoTop table tops are a must for a restaurant that demands versatility in its dining layout. These table tops are a high-density laminate that have a modern European design and boast a sleek ½” edge profile.

Get the look of wood (Gray Oak), metal (Metal Line, Black Steel, Dark Mica), or marbled top (Cement) with a flat surface and added layers for increased durability. These tops are pre-stressed, UV-resistant, and have a dry matte finish that create a smooth surface.

IsoTop tables are great for tight spaces with their 32” x 32” square or 32” x 48” rectangle top size options.

Vienna, Palermo, and Newport Table Bases

Whether you’re looking for a table base with a little more flair (Vienna) or one that can hold an umbrella for your patio (Palermo, Newport), we have some bases that will support your table tops, inside and out!

Vienna Table Base

We’re shaking up the classic disc design with the Vienna base. This base is made of strong e-coated cast steel, making it ideal in your dining area or on your patio with its stylized ridge design. Depending on what table you’re supporting, the Vienna is offered with an 18”, 24”, or 30” plate and comes in table or bar height.

Indoor/ Outdoor Newport Table Base

The Newport table base is an instant-classic, especially for outdoor spaces, with its built-in umbrella holder. The Newport’s steel frame is powder coated black for a streamlined appearance and unbeatable durability. Choose from an 18” or 22” base size in table or bar height for your table tops.

Palermo Single Table Base in Black and Palermo Bar Height Double Table Base in Silver

Get the support you need with the Palermo single or double table base. If you think you’re going to need a place to support an umbrella, go with the single Palermo with its built-in umbrella holder. Need more support? Try the double Palermo base. Both the single and double styles are available in table and bar height. Regardless of which you choose, the Palermo is made from heavy duty steel that won’t corrode. Get the right base to match your décor (inside or out) by choosing a black or silver Palermo table base.

Each of these bases are available in have self-leveling floor glides for extra stability.  

Put your mind at ease by finding commercial-grade restaurant furniture that can be used inside and out. This will help keep your warranty intact and your restaurant layout flexible. 

Have a question about a product we discussed? Please call our customer care team at 800-986-5352 for more information. Be sure to also check out our catalog for all the latest products coming to East Coast Chair & Barstool.